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What the status and notification icons on Android actually mean

What the status and notification icons on Android actually mean

It seems that the icons in the status and notification bar get shaken up with every major Android update, sometimes changing appearance or disappearing entirely. If you find yourself not knowing what some of these icons mean, do not worry. You're not alone! We're here to help make sense of these unintelligible glyphs.

Because Android smartphone makers customize the user interface on their devices, even the most commonly used icons may differ from one brand to another. Also, chances are high you are reading this article because you are confused about a specific icon on your smartphone that you can't make sense of. To quickly check what it might be, you can use the jump to links below to quickly see if the icon in question has been listed. If the icon you're looking for isn't listed on your smartphone's manual, chances are high you will find them on Google's font page anyway.

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Status bar and notification bar: What is the difference?

The status bar

The status bar and the notification bar are very similar, but in reality, they are two different things. The status bar is located at the top of the display, on the right. This is where you will see things like the current time, battery status, and current connections (Bluetooth, cellular network, and Wi-Fi). The Notification bar, on the other hand, is located on the upper left side, where you'll find app icons to alert you to new messages, updates to the Play Store, and other notifications. 

So, if you listen to music via Spotify or, the corresponding icon will be displayed on the notification bar. Usually, the sequence of the icons indicates how new or old the notifications are. The most recent notifications are displayed on the far left.

AndroidPIT Facebook notification settings 1
The status bar shows you the current time, the battery status, and the connections / © NextPit

The notification bar and drawer

The notification bar also contains notifications, which you can open with a swipe-down gesture. This gesture reveals a lot of information – the example of which includes recent screenshots, a WhatsApp message, Facebook notifications, and email alerts. You can then clock the notification to open the corresponding app or simply swipe to the right or left to dismiss the notification. 

Modern Android versions allow users to respond directly within the notification without the need to open the app that sent the notification. For example, you can reply to a WhatsApp message from within the notification bar without the need to open WhatsApp app. 

In addition to the notifications, another set of important things you can access from this swipe-down gesture are the quick settings toggles. From here, you can quickly turn on/off a feature without having to go to the settings menu. Some of the most common things you can change from here include enabling and disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other connections, turning on/off the hotspot, toggling the auto-rotate option, and switching on the flashlight.  If you press and hold down an icon, you will enter the settings for this function. 

Most manufacturers also customize the quick settings themselves. Therefore, there are always several options here. Fortunately, the selection can be personalized to your tastes and habits, so you always have access to the most important settings for you. Also, you can always disable annoying or uninteresting notifications just by long-pressing an alert. This will open a small menu where you can choose how you want to be notified by the app.

android 10 icons
Here's how the icons look on stock Android 10. Things haven't changed too much on Android 11 / © NextPit

The most common notification and status icons by manufacturers

Below, we take a look at some of the most commonly used notification and status icons that you may come across while using your smartphone. We have listed most of the prominent smartphone brands and their custom Android skins below. Whilst these customizations don't fundamentally change the way the status and notification icons look or react, you can often find options that are exclusive to the software you are running.

Samsung (One UI)

Samsung's user manual includes a list of symbols that are usually displayed on the notification bar. Check the image below to see the most important ones.

samsung icons 2
The common icons you would see on Samsung smartphones running OneUI / © Samsung

Xiaomi/ Redmi/ Poco

Here are the most commonly used status icons on Xiaomi smartphones. These icons will be seen on almost all devices from the company that run MIUI. This includes sub-brands like Poco and Redmi as well.

MIUI status icons
Status icons you will come across on phones running MIUI from Xiaomi/ © Xiaomi

OnePlus

These are the icons you will encounter while using OnePlus smartphones that run the company's own Android skin – OxygenOS.

OnePlus Icons
The common icons on OnePlus' OxygenOS / © OnePlus

Huawei/ Honor (EMUI)

Honor might have separated from Huawei, but as of 2021, some of you might still be using Honor devices that run EMUI. The most commonly used status icons on EMUI are listed below.

Huawei Status Icons
These are the common icons you would encounter on Huawei and Honor smartphones that run EMUI/ © Huawei

Stock Android (for Google, Nokia, Motorola, Sony, and Asus smartphones)

If you happen to be an Android purist who prefers the stock Android experience, chances are high you would own either a Google Pixel smartphone or one of the many devices that offer the stock Android experience. The brands that offer the stock Android experience to users include Nokia, Motorola, Sony, and even Asus. 

Some of the icons that you will encounter on stock Android are listed in the image below. While these icons are from Android 11, most of these have remained unchanged since Android 10 and will not be changing even on Android 12.

notification icons Android 11
Some of the most used Android notification icons as of Android 11 / © Google

In case the icon that you are looking for isn't listed above, Google has a comprehensive list of icons that are part of Android 11 on its Fonts portal. This page lists all the icons that you will encounter on your Android phone. It is divided into multiple sections, some of which are listed below. 

Have you ever seen a notification or an icon that you just can't figure out the meaning of? Describe it in the comments, and let us know what type of phone you have!

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  • M P 3 days ago Link to comment

    i have a nokia 7.1 mobile and have a notification icon which is a head and shoulders with a plus sign


  • Stllwatn 1 month ago Link to comment

    I have an LG G3 Android smartphone it won't hold a charge and it won't charge and there's a arrow indicators pointing to one side of the phone


  • Art she 1 month ago Link to comment

    I have a Google Pixel 4a-5g. In the top right corner I now have a icon that appears to be what looks like a ekg symbol, or heartbeat line with a slanted line through it. Like it's turned off. I noticed this as now my camera app isn't loading.


  • Michi9271 2 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and im trying to figure out what app makes a notification that shaped like a name badge and has a person on the left side (inside the badge) and a check mark on the right. Any help would be very very appreciated!! :)


  • Michi9271 2 months ago Link to comment

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and im trying to figure out what app makes a notification that shaped like a name badge and has a person on the left side (inside the badge) and a check mark on the right. Any help would be very very appreciated!! :)


  • Blake Long 2 months ago Link to comment

    I have an LG stylo 4 (LML713DL) and there is an icon at the top right thst is a rectangle box with a total of 7 dots inside of it. Can't get rid of it and can't figure out what it is


  • Debbie Atahasan 2 months ago Link to comment

    I have a c900 pro and have an icon appeared that looks like a stethoscope or cable with 2 prongs never seen it before and can't get rid of it.


  • Sheldon Fedoruk 3 months ago Link to comment

    I have a s21+ and it had a little flame guy waving in the top left notification bar


  • Sheldon Fedoruk 3 months ago Link to comment

    It looks like a little. Flame guy waving with one hand


  • Sarah Hayes 4 months ago Link to comment

    I have a galaxy j7 pro and the other day a icon came up on the left hand side of my screen and it's three dots across three dots down and three dots making a Square. I have never seen it before and it never goes away what is it


  • Martin Wilkinson 7 months ago Link to comment

    I have a MOTO G8 plus with Android 10 and I get what looks like a phone handset icon (like you get on buttons to pick up a call), with a tiny Wifi symbol (like a fan) next to it. I was thinking along the lines of Wifi calling, but I don't think my phone or carrier support those, and can't find anything in Settings. Any clues?!


  • Will1973 7 months ago Link to comment

    My Samsung tablet has sign like a no entry road sign next to my wi fi sign and I cant connect to data outside my house


  • Paul Schmied 9 months ago Link to comment

    My LQ phone has a tiny icon between the radio and wifi cons. I had to use a camera with a macro lens to enlarge it enough to make it out. It toggle between "4G" and 4G with a diagonal line across it. The two states are impossible to differentiate without a magnifying glass. There is no action the user can take to in response to either. That makes the icon pointless.


  • Theresa Demarco 9 months ago Link to comment

    my bf had a red icon that almost look like the target symbol what does that mean


    • Gipo 8 months ago Link to comment

      Maybe the touchscreen calibration tool


  • Goldvin Aug 26, 2020 Link to comment

    Cool!


  • storm Aug 25, 2020 Link to comment

    Behold the evil of manufacturer skins who deviate into the paths of confusion and self-prioritization over user choice and control. Shun them.


  • luc Jul 31, 2020 Link to comment

    Ik have a downloadsymbol with next to it a red dot. It keeps on appearing even after restart. Anyone knows what it is and how you stop it?


  • Yvonne Jul 23, 2020 Link to comment

    I have a blue circle with a line through it by the telephone number that called in.


  • Arthurd Jul 3, 2020 Link to comment

    I have a broken sided triangle - what does that mean


  • Bng1975 May 25, 2020 Link to comment

    What is the hand and dot notification mean?


  • swally2 May 15, 2020 Link to comment

    LG G8 - I have an icon that just starting showing up on the status bar. It looks like a phone on its back with maybe what appears to be the word MUTE or VALU with a curved line at the top. As far as I know nothing is muted if that is what is says (too small to read).


    • Linc Jun 23, 2020 Link to comment

      That icon is your wifi calling icon..it means you are connected to wifi and that you are using your internet connection to make and receive calls. You can turn that off under settings if you lime.


    • scb29 Oct 8, 2020 Link to comment

      Linc this is not the icon swally2 was talking about. The wifi icon does not have text in the middle, just the handset and half circles.
      swally2 the text in the middle is "VoLTE" and stands for Voice Over LTE. This means you can make HD voice/video calls over your (4G) LTE network without any 3rd party apps.


  • Beamoftheturtle May 6, 2020 Link to comment

    I have an icon that pops up quickly and disappears so I cannot find the app or thing it belongs to. It's on the left side and shows the head and bust of a person with 2 or 3 curved lines running vertically on the right side. I have an LG V30 upgrade to 9.0 if that helps.


  • ressa Mar 8, 2020 Link to comment

    On the right hand side top bar. a square with symbol that resembles a N. Samsung note 10. Please help. ( It is next to my alarm icon for a reference as to location.


    • Beamoftheturtle May 6, 2020 Link to comment

      That should be NFC. You can turn it off in the drop down menu.


  • mcadwell Jan 11, 2020 Link to comment

    I have a disability and have an extremely difficult time seeing the tiny icons. They were much bigger on my previous phone. How does one make these icons big enough to see?


    • mcadwell Jan 11, 2020 Link to comment

      I would be very appreciative if anyone could help me with this. I can't use them the way they are. Thank you.


  • Hunter006 Dec 26, 2019 Link to comment

    I have an icon on the upper left of my screen that looks sort of like an EKG sign. Can anyone tell me what that one is? Please!


  • Nikkixbx Nov 28, 2019 Link to comment

    After an update I have a green square with android robots head, at the top left of my screen any ideas??


  • Michelle Nov 11, 2019 Link to comment

    I have a symbol that looks like a spider with a T inside it???!!


  • helena Nov 3, 2019 Link to comment

    I have a symbol on the top rhs next to the sound on/off icon. I looks like a triangle with a small gap in each side and 2 arrows inside, pointing up and down. No idea what this is


    • Jake0129 Nov 8, 2019 Link to comment

      I have the same thing on my phone and haven't been able to find out what it is yet. Let me know if you find out. Thanks jaxaccord@gmail.com


    • Marie Nov 9, 2019 Link to comment

      It means your data saver is on. Go to connections under settings, then data usage. You can toggle it on or off


  • droidgoddess Nov 1, 2019 Link to comment

    I am trying to figure out what app icon is popping up on my notification bar... it looks like a wifi network signal with a llittle speech bubble (for messages) on the right corner of icon. could someone help me figure out what app is causing this on my phone....


  • Solefeature Oct 24, 2019 Link to comment

    I have wifi symbol with a tiny symbol on its bottom right side. It is so tiny I can't see it clearly but it looks kind of like the M on Monster drinks...
    Verizon
    Samsung J7V


    • David McCourt Oct 24, 2019 Link to comment

      Could it be the padlock for locked Wi-Fi? You can take a screenshot then zoom in to see it better.


      • Solefeature Oct 24, 2019 Link to comment

        Not a padlock. I did screenshot and can see it is a box with 2 vertical lines that might be 2 arrows pointing up


    • Marie Nov 9, 2019 Link to comment

      ?


  • Arosa Oct 23, 2019 Link to comment

    What does an x show up after metro by TMobile mean on a motorcycle e5 plus...can sumone plz help me wit this question ty


  • Richard Wraith Oct 19, 2019 Link to comment

    Huawei P20 - Status bar icon symbol looks like a pair of earphones wityh a tick in the middle. What does it indicate please. (Earphones are NOT connected)


  • Henry Gilbert Oct 19, 2019 Link to comment

    What does ••• mean?


    • David McCourt Oct 24, 2019 Link to comment

      More notifications are available but the icons cannot fit in the status bar.


  • dustinthewind Oct 14, 2019 Link to comment

    I have a triangle with a break on each side with up and down arrow inside. It's in the first picture at the top of this page next to the vibrate symbol.


    • David McCourt Oct 24, 2019 Link to comment

      It's the data saver icon. You can turn data saver on and off in the settings.


  • JennL Oct 11, 2019 Link to comment

    T-Mobile V7 have a ghostly pac man icon (not snap) that popped up on my notification bar. What is this.


  • CJ Brown Oct 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Well, this article addresses Android 10, it doesn't mention anything for Oreo and Pie (and that's a disservice to those who don't have OS 10).

    How about a follow up with Android OS Oreo and Pie users? The Notification Bar, it's Icons, the Features - the whole shebang!


  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Oct 6, 2019 Link to comment

    Very confusing. Too many icons.


  • BWOOD Sep 27, 2019 Link to comment

    What is the meaning of the large donut/ data usage icon with a leftward circular arrow inside it???


  • vicksen Jul 16, 2019 Link to comment

    I have a thick white circle thr3 quarters Colored with a cross in the middle. ?? Never changes


  • John Maxim Jul 2, 2019 Link to comment

    The first picture above shows multiple notification icons from the same app, for example: there appears to be 4 youtube icons and two Instagram cons, etc. With Android 8 and 9 this is more of an issue because now there is only room for four notification icons along with a dot indicating overflow. I'm using Android 9 and to me this makes no sense. Just now I got a audible email notification. I looked at my screen and in the notification area I see one notification icon for a text message and three notification icons for The Guardian followed by a dot. Why am I being told I have three notifications from the Guardian and no sign of the email notification? Wouldn't it be more efficient and practical to show one notification icon for each app, for example: One text message icon, one Guardian icon and one email icon? This is how it was done up to Android 6 I believe. Who makes these decisions and changes that makes no sense?


  • B83201 Jun 6, 2019 Link to comment

    How do I upload a photo of the icon I'm wondering about? It looks like a rectangle with a circle on top.


  • Joffre Jun 5, 2019 Link to comment

    i have one icon i dont know what it is yet, its two hands holding a battery, you can check this screenshot, please help me. ibb.co/HCJ8760


  • Ricky May 9, 2019 Link to comment

    I have 2 icons I haven't been able to find out what they are, hopefully one of you can. 1 icon is like the recycling triangle with 2 arrows in it, 1 pointing up , 1 pointing down. I would like to know what it is. Second icon is a phone like I'm in a call but it's got the wifi signal top right and below it, it's a 1. Keeps freaking me out thinking I'm in a actual call atm. It's a Samsung A7, 2018.

    Found out by trial and error, that the triangle icon is for when you have Data Saver active. Why isn't that icon shown in the large icon database in the post...

    Would still like to know about the phone icon though


    • Dan Lutley Jun 5, 2019 Link to comment

      The phone icon with WiFi icon above is for the WiFi Calling feature whereby the phone can fallback to WiFi if you are making a call and both WiFi and Cellular are available.
      All you have to do is enable the WiFi calling feature on your phone and place a call just like you would with cellular infrastructure. You may have to register the physical address of where the WiFi connection is so
      as to facilitate finding your location in a 911 emergency call scenario.


  • Lianet4919 Apr 29, 2019 Link to comment

    I'm seeing a circle enclosed in a broken circle. First time was today.


  • Brandi Plagwitz Apr 10, 2019 Link to comment

    A head with three commas after it keeps randomly flashing in my notifications. Makes no sound and isn't there for even a second. Looks like a person listening but idk what it is. Galaxy note 8


  • alexandrual Apr 9, 2019 Link to comment

    What does battery unknown mean ? What is it about? thanks!


  • Dja138 Jan 21, 2019 Link to comment

    Any idea what an icon that looks like a car speedometer is on a huawei p20 pro please? I would post a screen shot but it's not
    possible.
    Update:-, It was the performance mode icon.


    • Dja138 Jan 26, 2019 Link to comment

      Sorted. It's the performance mode icon.


  • N1ghtmar3 Jan 20, 2019 Link to comment

    I have a single white vertical line by my wifi indicator icon in status bar. Only there when im on home screen or in app drawer, disappears whenever i use any other apps. It should be visible in my profile pic. I didn't know how else to show anyone. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    • Dan Lutley Jun 5, 2019 Link to comment

      My experience with that is that the verticle line is actually an exclamation mark which is telling you to do something such as login to the WiFi hot spot. That is what my Samsung Galaxy A520 does when I need to login to get internet connectivity. I think this typically when you have an open hotspot with no wifi connection security but there is a guest login action you need to take to actually get internet connectivity


  • Itzi Jan 15, 2019 Link to comment

    In the top left appears an icon of a person (shoulders up) with 3 "broadcasting" lines on the right side, it pops for a few seconds and then dissappear... What does it mean???


    • Adam Morlan Jan 16, 2019 Link to comment

      Hi Itzi! The icon you are referring to is used by Google Maps, and it is a notification that the app is updating your shared location. This will only appear occasionally if you are actively sharing your location with another user. Hopefully this helps!


      • Itzi Jan 17, 2019 Link to comment

        Ohh thank you so much, yes that makes total sense, 😁😁😁😁


    • Brandi Plagwitz Apr 10, 2019 Link to comment

      Same... What is this?


  • Jessica Colvin Dec 29, 2018 Link to comment

    Hello I have a envelope looking icon with a heart with it. What is that icon?


  • Kathy Owen Dec 17, 2018 Link to comment

    I have a triangle on the right top side of my phone. I cannot find a picture of it anywhere. What does it mean? It just showed up one day


  • Tom Beattie Dec 10, 2018 Link to comment

    I have a signal icon that has a little home above it with a open paran rotated 90 degrees clockwise and bouncing up and down on top of the house. I have a Samsung 4g network extender. Is this the new icon to show that I am connected to said extender?


  • Stacey Flood Oct 22, 2018 Link to comment

    I have a moto e5 plus and there is an icon shaped like a person on the bottom right side of my navigation bar...what is this?


  • Johnny Oct 7, 2018 Link to comment

    Whats the icon ib in a square mean ...and a chain link ? Both are in top left of samsung s8 active


  • Guy Shurley May 9, 2018 Link to comment

    On my Samsung J3 running Android 6.0.1 there is an icon in the upper left corner that looks like a mobile phone, but has an "X" overlapping the right side of the phone. Does anyone know what it means?


  • Roy tallboy May 3, 2018 Link to comment

    Data Saver status icon in Android Oreo update for Galaxy S8 and S8+
    Data Saver status icon in Android Oreo update for Galaxy S8 and S8+

    The icon shown on the left is the new data saver status icon in Android Oreo update for Galaxy S8 and S8+.

    Ths icon indicates you turned on data saver in your Galaxy S8 or S8+.


  • ANoobies Gaming Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    I have the same icon too.. Note 8


  • Arun Kumar Apr 11, 2018 Link to comment

    I have an icon that is a pluse sign in half circle. What does it mean and how do I get rid of it?


    • Rooster Freebird Aug 18, 2018 Link to comment

      Data Saver on. Turn Data Saver off and icon will disappear.


    • Dan Lutley Jun 5, 2019 Link to comment

      That is the old data saver icon and it means you have data saver enabled which is a good thing. The updated icon is a small triangle outline with an up and down arrow within it.


  • Mark Anthony Soniega Mar 28, 2018 Link to comment

    I have a status bar icon i have no idea what it means. Its like a triangle with two arrows pointing up and down. I have a samsung galaxy s8


    • Stuart Clarke Dec 9, 2018 Link to comment

      That's is the new data saver status icon in Android Oreo update. Google 'new-status-icons-in-android-oreo-update-for-galaxy-s8-and-s8'


  • Lucy Cat Mar 27, 2018 Link to comment

    What is the icon in the status bar next to the Alarm and Wi-Fi icons in the close up picture there? Its a rectangle with 2 lines on each side.


  • Geo Mano Feb 6, 2018 Link to comment

    Are you at/near your data allowance?


  • Todd Laibl Jan 29, 2018 Link to comment

    I have a Samsung S7 and recently had an icon appear in the Status bar that I have no idea of. It is a plus sign surrounded by a circle with a quarter of the circle missing. Any help would be great! Thanks


    • Geo Mano Feb 6, 2018 Link to comment

      Are you at/near your data allowance?


    • Martin Stephenson Feb 10, 2018 Link to comment

      Just figured this one out on my phone. It's the data saver notification.


  • Elizabeth Dec 28, 2017 Link to comment

    there are two, one green and one blue.they are square with with what looks like book pages with a red line over the top left corner.one has something that looks like a capital E. I could provide a screenshot if I knew where to send it


  • Judy Eckman Dec 16, 2017 Link to comment

    I have an icon that is a magnifying glass in front of a wifi icon. What does it mean and how do I get rid of it?


  • Ka S Dec 15, 2017 Link to comment

    I have a notification icon that look like a hand holding a tablet, but if I hold my device sideways it looks like an L. I'm using Lenovo yoga tab 3 plus, this icon showed up when the device updated to android nougot 7.1.1.


  • Annika Busse Sep 26, 2017 Link to comment

    I have an icon that looks like N)) with the vertical lines of the 'N' curved like the brackets. Anyone know what it stands for?


    • Xero Sep 27, 2017 Link to comment

      It means NFC is enabled. I wondered the same, turned off NFC, and it disappears.


  • Tim Baverstock Sep 8, 2017 Link to comment

    @google Feature request: Please add an entry to the Android pull-down notification menu that can be expanded to explain the meaning of all the icons on the right hand side. (Even the 'obvious' ones like battery, bluetooth, and NFC.)


  • Patsy Wall Sep 6, 2017 Link to comment

    I have a icon (en) that I have no idea what it is please help


  • Brian stanley Aug 26, 2017 Link to comment

    One of those almost android free Obama phones the letter w the word wave and three horizontal wavy lines in the top status bar? Haven't found a clue! What do they mean? Only have photographic memory of them and don't remember exact position in status bar.


  • Vera H. Aug 4, 2017 Link to comment

    All icons are from "Font Awesome"


  • HerryPotter Jul 29, 2017 Link to comment

    Thank you


  • Andrew Burgin Jul 29, 2017 Link to comment

    This is were some software should be made available so you could customise it,like changing the status bar colour on the S8 models,as white buttons do not show up clearly,with any wallpaper you put on the phones,you can change the background but it's the button colours I want to change to Black or Red


    • Adriana Bookout Feb 4, 2019 Link to comment

      I agree. My Huawei honor 7x has the icons in black. I can hardly see them. I'm not rooted, so can't customize them


  • Mark G. Jul 29, 2017 Link to comment

    I use the excellent app X-plore which is by far the best file management app, it has a handy wifi sharing which allows you to see your phones internal/external file structure on your tablet, anyway it has a cool way to activate it - drop down menu - wifi server icon.

    Peace 🖖🏼


  • Assem Dmc Jul 29, 2017 Link to comment

    dmc98.blogspot.com
    check my website


  • Reg Joo Jul 28, 2017 Link to comment

    Customizing my phone with substratum makes the quick settings icons really shine, and every one that I have is self descriptive, absolutely no confusion here. If your rooted, and your phone supports it, use it.

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